Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dreamland - Sarah Dessen

"Wake up, Caitlin." My English teacher wasn't the only one who'd noticed.
"Caitlin?" my mother said at dinner. "Honey, are you okay?"
"Caitlin!" the dance coach barked as I flubbed another cartwheel.
"Caitlin?" Rina, my best friend, asked in our one shared class. "Hello?"
And finally, the one voice to which I snapped to attention, every time.
"Caitlin," Rogerson said, and I'd listen so hard, trying to tell just by the cadence what might happen when we were alone.

What no one understands is that Caitlin can't afford to leave this dreamland, this half-sleeping state where everything--and everyone--can be kept at arm's length. Because then she'd have to face the ugly truth about her relationship with Rogerson, magnetic, fascinating--and very dangerous--Rogerson. What is it about Rogerson Biscoe. . . and why can't she leave him?
In her most challenging novel yet, acclaimed author Sarah Dessen guides readers through the harrowing netherworld of Caitlin's dreams, to her potent and affecting awakening.

Title: Dreamland
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: Young Adult, Abusive Relationships.
Publisher: Viking
My Rating: 3/5

This book was a sleeper for me. I didn't really like the beginning, but as the story unfolds, and Rogerson starts to hit Caitlin, I found myself more engrossed in the story. It is definitely a sad one about a girl whose sister has run away, leaving her family floundering, trying to gain a sense of normalcy. Caitlin tries to fill in the gaps by joining the cheerleading squad, going out to parties, and meeting guys from the various school teams. All this falls to the wayside when she meets Rogerson, his bad boy appearance speaks to her. She emphatically breaks from the mold and dates him (something her sister would never do). I can't believe how easily she made so many bad decisions. They all happened in quick succession and once done, it was very hard for her to surface from her dreamland. In fact, she couldn't maintain relationships with friends, or family that she once had for fear that they would figure out that something was going on. When pressed about certain things, she gave rote answers; everything was fine, okay, just as long as she didn't have to bare her soul. This book was kept almost "light" though. The abuse was present, but it wasn't detailed explicitly. It was definitely heartbreaking for Caitlin, to see her in the state that she was in. So many, like Caitlin, think that they deserve the abuse. They don't. I don't feel completely bad for Rogerson. He had the opportunity to stop the cycle, and he didn't. I do feel sympathy for him because his father abused him, but not for continuing the cycle. All in all, this book was an eye-opener to the feelings that one can have for their abuser, and it just makes it that much more sad.
If anyone finds themselves in this situation, please, find someone to help you out of it. Support groups, friends, family, anonymous tip lines, anything. It is a long road to recovery, but you are worth it.

This book counts toward the 2010 100+ Reading Challenge hosted over at J. Kaye's book blog.


Morgan said...

wow, I've read pretty much every book other than this one by Sarah Dessen and none of them seem this sad. It would be nice to see a different side of Sarah Dessen's writing-so maybe I'll give it a try!

Allie said...

When I read this one a few years ago, I felt the same way. I wasn't really sure which direction Dessen was going to take and I was surprised where the story went. But I still like this one. "The Truth About Forever" is still my favorite Dessen though.

Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

Sarah Dessen is one of my favourites, and I'll definitely have to add this to my list. Thanks for the great review! :)

Tammy said...

I still have never read a Sarah Dessen book-I'm waiting for Just Listen on a Inter Library Loan. Thanks for the review.

brandileigh2003 said...

I agree- bit of a slow opener, but I was engrossed. This is a wonderful picture of how a relationship like this can start and then how it continues.

Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog